Linguistic responsibility for a global dialogue in teacher education in a globalized world

Year: 2012

Author: Bayati, Zahra

Type of paper: Abstract refereed



In Swedish teacher education the demography of students has changed because of the globalization. Most students who do not have a Swedish background are refugees or immigrants from non-west countries. The purpose of this paper is to present the challenges of language for teacher students with non-white background in a segregated context in the Swedish society.  Furthermore the purpose is to study the use of language as an instrument for including or excluding students in teacher education.


One part of the empirical data is obtained from individual interviews with eight university students with backgrounds in non-west countries, three university internship consultants and two university language tutors. Another part of the data is gathered from research circles meetings consisting of six teacher educators and one student counselor. All actors in this study, except the students, have Swedish origin. Interviews and meetings are all tape-recorded and transcribed. The analysis is done in three different steps, first presentation of actors and meeting's contents, second an intertextual dialogue between the different actors narratives in this study, and as a third step data was analyzed through the theoretical lens.


The empirical results show that these students have various experiences of exclusion and 'otherness' in teacher education. Incapacity in the Swedish language was seen by teacher educators as a potential reason for the exclusion of these students from some Swedish students' group-works. Some of the students in this study mean that they chose silence in class or group discussions because they had experienced stigma and bullying from some Swedish students. The students don't name language as a reason for the racial treatment they are subjected to. They have experienced being treated different from actors with the same language capacity as themselves. The other challenge is the level of the qualification requirements for language skill to enter teacher education. Students and other actors mean this level is lower than what is needed to manage the teacher education. 


Students and other actors in this study advice more support for language study pre-entrance in teacher education, and special second-language supporting in the education itself. To counteract exclusion practices, for example the use of language as a tool for racial behavior, it is important according to some actors that teacher educators are educated in - and aware of - these issues, in order to give adequate support to the group process.